by Kris Hermes
April 03, 2011
from NaturalNews Website
A milestone quietly occurred last month, and one the federal government would prefer to ignore.
Yet, it could mean a step in the right direction for
hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who use a
centuries-old botanical medicine:
cannabis, otherwise know as
At that time, the NCI website read:
And just in case the issue of medical efficacy was in question, NCI further stated that:
Besides the obvious "It's about time" retort to the inclusion of cannabis in the CAM listing, there is definitely more here to this decades-long story of the struggle between politics and science.
If the symptoms of cancer and the side effects from treatment can be ameliorated or fought-off with medical cannabis,
Unfortunately, despite promising studies on the effects of cannabis on tumor growth and a host of other scientific investigations into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis - mostly conducted outside of the United States - we have failed to rise to the occasion.
Cannabis used for
research in the U.S. is
tightly controlled by the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the National Institutes
on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The research that does occur is narrowly
focused by NIDA on the supposed abuse potential of cannabis,
bypassing vast areas of efficacy ripe for investigation.
Administrator Michele Leonhart ignored her own ALJ's
recommendations and denied the petition that would have broken a
40-year old monopoly on federal research cannabis production, housed
at the University of Mississippi. The federal monopoly on cannabis
cultivation is complemented by a Byzantine approval process that
would have made Franz Kafka proud.
Just to make sure its readers didn't think it was endorsing the use of medical cannabis, NCI reminded us that,
However, more importantly, NCI removed reference to a "possible direct antitumor effect."
They wouldn't want to give the impression that cannabis should be further researched, would they? After feeling some heat from mainstream media outlets, NCI offered an explanation for its apparent shiftiness around cannabis.
Craftily, NCI distanced itself from the Physician Data Query (PDQ) Editorial Boards, which are responsible for the website content (i.e. the content on cannabis).
Okay, this is where it
Pretty bold statements for a website, whether from an editorial department or not. Now, NCI happens to be one of 11 agencies within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is under the authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The problem is that HHS has consistently maintained that cannabis is a 'dangerous drug' with no medical value.
Specifically, HHS has publicly stated that cannabis,
The contradictions don't stop there.
The same production
facility at the University of Mississippi that selectively disburses
research cannabis also mails out literally pounds of the dried plant
each year to the remaining four patients who qualified for the
federal Investigational New Drug program.
Since the Coalition
for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) filed its petition in 2002,
dozens more studies have been conducted recognizing the therapeutic
effects of cannabis, eight more states passed medical marijuana laws
(bringing the total to 15), and the country's two largest physician
American Medical Association and
American College of
Physicians - have both called for a review of marijuana's status as
a Schedule I substance.
Yet, based on historical precedent, the cards are stacked against patients. In 1988, the DEA denied a rescheduling petition despite strong judicial condemnation of marijuana's Schedule I classification.
The DEA's own Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young ruled on the petition, commenting that,
determinations on rescheduling petitions are made by DEA, the review
process relies heavily on recommendations from HHS, the federal
department that oversees NCI.
Though ineffective for many medical cannabis patients, Marinol will go off patent this year and a number of companies are vying for generic licenses. Companies are asking the government to allow them to grow cannabis in order to extract the natural form of THC, the primary active chemical in the plant used in the pill.
Marinol is currently
made with synthetic THC, but it is cheaper to extract the chemical
from the plant.
It's time for the Obama Administration to recognize the science, act with integrity, and reschedule cannabis.